It snowed last night. A lot.
My friend just called me from Bozeman on her way to the hairdresser. It turns out one of the restaurants on Old Main Street blew up this morning. To the tune of five blocks of broken glass and a fire they cannot get put out. Huge black plume like burning tires. Rumor has it five dead, there were apartments above all those downtown buildings. Happened about 8:30 this morning.
Glad my friend was not driving by there when it happened as it is on the way to the hairdresser. So she is taking the long way around on I90 to get there.
Not Yet Spring and Too Much Excitement
It snowed last night. A lot.
On the news they are now not sure about injuries. There is a 12 inch gas main that is the most likely culprit. It leveled three buildings. As they were two bars and a restaurant, maybe no one was in them that early in the morning.
Wow Mulch, I saw the photos. It looks like the debris was blown all the way to the library! I used to live a few blocks from downtown and my roommate worked in that gallery. I'm glad I don't live there any more, what a mess! It's a good thing it happened in the morning when no one was in there.
Glad she wasn't hurt. Historical building in Truckee blew up that way when I was a kid, such a mess.
I saw that too and thought of you, Mulch -- glad you and your friend are safe......
Whewee, oh boy, I'm going to Bozeman this weekend. That'll be a sight to see. I used to dance occasionally in the ballet studio upstairs. The one that is now a pile of debris.
An old neighbor of mine was in a church this morning 3-4 blocks away when it happened, and some of the windows were smashed in the blast.
Lots of windows gone all over the place.
Apparently one person missing and considered dead. Not publicly announced who yet but it is widely known that it is the owner of Montana Trails Gallery, which was one of the buildings flattened.
The owner of the Rug Gallery was quite shaken as he had just left his office to get coffee and it took his office out.
It is surprising not more deaths from it, but the time of day and the fact the blast blew out the back of the building instead on onto Main Street helped a lot. Still tragic, I had been hoping everyone escaped it.
I'll keep my fingers crosed for everyone to be ok. When there was the blast in Truckee they found a little girl they had thought must be dead. She was hidding under a table which shielded her from much of the blast. I think I remember that she had some problems but she was alive long after they were sure she was gone.
I wish there was something better I could say. Just that I'm hoping and I'm sorry for the loss.
I'm not very happy about the fact that the power company couldn't turn off the gas. Quite a number of years ago, an acquaintance in Missoula hit a gas line while removing a tree stump - after he had contacted the power company and been assured that there were no lines in that area. It took them hours to figure out where the shut-off was, because the line wasn't on their charts. (And then they tried to bill him for it!) It seems pretty dangerous to me that there are old gas lines running around under the earth that the power companies don't even know about.
My brother used to do civil drafting where he had to draw out gas lines. There is plenty of stuff that either was not properly documented or the documentation was lost. He really had some hassles trying to get the drawings correct.
Mulch, thank you for keeping us informed about this situation....... holding the space for damage to be minimized and harmony restored as soon as possible for all those affected by this event. I'm sure it is a traumatic shake up in lots of lives right now.
Egads, now four businesses have burned on Main Street in the little town of Whitehall. How bizarre is that? No reports of injuries there. They say the earthquake that preceded it did not cause the fire.
well for heavens sake.
I too hope nobody is next.....
Well at least we did not get hit by that asteroid that came whizzing by on Monday.... closer than the mooooon it was....
Stuff whizzes by all the time. I think they are just trying to scare us. Frankly, human beings consistently do more damage that everything else...
I want to know: is Montana in danger? Seriously! What is happening? I love Montana and I'm not in agreement with the recent blowing up Montana incidents! I will come down and fight. I'm a ninja, I have garden fariys, I can help. I'm very very worried. MONTANA LIVES!
I am glad you are coming to the rescue! Set the weather transporter for lots and lots of rain and snow for Montana! That should at least solve the fire problems!
Tell the garden fairies to sprinkle pixie dust in the snow too, that has special healing powers I am told.
Mulch my winter fairys rock. We are all concened. Winter fairies are poised to respond if there are any more 'blowing up in Montana' incidents. Seriously I hope that scarey incident has been resolved.
Dnut, you're a trooper. I knew we could count on you in a pinch.
Hey, I may be headed your way. Will d-mail you when I know.
The paper this morning says the Whitehall fire started with an explosion. They don't know what exploded or why though. Way too weird.
I heard on the tv that the governor reported the Bozeman event to Homeland Security. Could it be terrorists targeting bars? A prohibitionist insurgency?
Went to Bozeman, ate at the Co-op, attended a tango party, walked my puppy dog. Everywhere I ran into loads of people I know. Judging from the stories I heard, garden fairies, angels and Dnut's ninja friends were present in hordes Thursday morning.
A few people left work that morning feeling ill, and so were not in the building when it blew up. Another was out shoveling the walk just across the street, and went inside a minute or so before the explosion. The rug gallery owner stepped out of his office into a different part of the store to get coffee; otherwise he would have been killed in his office.
Main St. was still blocked off when I was there, and state police posted around the perimeter. There was still a lot of smoke rising from the rubble. From the back, it looked like a war zone. I saw a charred, half ripped-out brick wall. And a huge pile of rubble. Lots of boarded up windows.
A very good friend has her ailing father living with her. He had an encephalitis attack that morning, and she called 911. She couldn't believe it when she got a busy signal. So she drove her dad to the hospital and saw the smoke cloud on her way.
I agree that it's extremely strange. No one mentioned smelling a gas leak. And last I heard, they had Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms agents investigating.
Gracious mercy me. Thanks for the update Julie...... I am so glad to hear of all those near-misses.
I am recalling when I lived in SF years ago there was a drugstore trying to get built on a lot that the community wanted something else to happen there...... did not need another drugstore, needed other things..... after many a legal battle etc etc the drugstore won and started building.
It burned down one night. It was a huge gigantic trauma for the community in some ways. As I recall no one died but the fire was horrible and an apartment building across the street was badly damaged creating lots of homeless people.
It was never discovered to full clarity what happened but the neighborhood gossip conclusion was arson -- not by community members but by the owners, as the community had made it clear the establishment would not have a peaceful or prosperous existence.
No one ever knew for sure though. No charges were ever brought against anyone and no drugstore was built. I moved way before whatever happened finally to that lot, and can't remember what did.
I had a friend who used to be an inspector for insurance companies to determine the cause of fires. He was an engineer of some sort. He said it was amazing how much arson he saw and crudely disguised arson at that.
I am glad the ninja's helped out in Bozeman and the ATF is on duty.
I too am glad that there were fairys and angels helping so there were many saved from harm.
The preliminary findings in Whitehall are that the fire started by a malfunctioning freezer the restaurant had just purchased.
Wouldn't you know! One of my favorite restaurants here in town burned down from a malfunctioning walk-in refrigerator they had in the building. I bet the manufacturer will have to pay a bundle to fix this mess. They did in the case of our restaurant and it has been rebuilt and is functioning today.
Couple years ago's halloween blaze was enough for me. Psycho burnt down the historic hotel she was living in. Killed 12 people. Sorry just poped to mind because a resturant I liked was in that building.
Whew. It was a connection in the gas line underground that failed. Gas seeped through the soil and into the buildings.
I am soooo relieved that it wasn't negligence/arson by a business owner. That would be too much for a person to bear. A few people did indeed smell gas, but didn't report it. They've got something to kick themselves for.
That is a bit scary...... but yes, glad, I guess, that it was mischance instead of miscreants.
Wow. Just read this story. What a mess. I think there are a lot of older buildings with gas line problems.
When i moved in here and smelled the kerosene fumes from the heater I called immediately because I wanted to make sure....... and was told a certain amount of fumes was normal. I wonder if those folks who smelled the gas and kept quiet just thought it was a normal amount of fume odor. sheesh.
I don't think you can be too careful about gas. Our house in Vancouver got hit by lightning and it grounded out through the kitchen in the downstairs suite which had a gas stove. I did a 911 for the fire department and then a call to the emergency line to the gas company. Although the gas company guy who came assured me that a lightning strike couldn't ignite the gas, and confirmed that the lightning had fried all the electrical components of the stove which was why it was dead, he made a point of thanking me for calling it in. I was surprised to get a call from a rep a couple of days later to again thank me for reporting it. It is a extremely flammable substance and better safe than sorry I think. This is a very sad thing to happen.
If you smell gas after a new install, blow out the room and then go re-smell. You might release a lilttle doing the maintanence, but it shouldn't keep coming.